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THE DAIRY INDUSTRY

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COWS ARE COMPLEX, SENSITIVE BEINGS WHO DISPLAY AMAZING TRAITS OF INTELLIGENCE AND A WIDE RANGE OF EMOTIONS.

DAIRY COWS ACTIVELY MAINTAIN FRIENDSHIPS AND HAVE THEIR OWN UNIQUE PERSONALITIES.

 

EACH ONE OF THESE ANIMALS IS AN INDIVIDUAL HAVING THEIR OWN CONSCIOUS, SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF REALITY. 

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INTELLIGENCE & EMOTION

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BREEDING

ALTHOUGH THERE ARE FARMS WHO USE A BULL IN THE PEN FOR BREEDING, IT IS NOT AS RELIABLE AS THE MOST COMMON FORM OF BREEDING, WHICH IS EUPHEMISTICALLY KNOWN AS THE AI METHOD, OR ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION. 


THIS PROCESS IS ESSENTIALLY THE SEXUAL VIOLATION OF MALE AND FEMALE ANIMALS IN ORDER TO PRODUCE CALVES TO MAKE UP THE DAIRY HERD. 
THE ADVANTAGE OF AI IS THE SELECTION OF HIGH-QUALITY SPERM FOR BREEDING PURPOSES. 

SEMEN QUALITY IS CONSIDERED BEST WHEN THE BULLS ARE UNDER 3 YEARS OF AGE, PRIOR TO THEM REACHING MATURITY. 


SPERM IS EXTRACTED FROM STUD BULLS EITHER VIA THE USE OF AN ARTIFICIAL VAGINA OR MORE COMMONLY VIA ELECTRO-EJACULATION WITH A RECTAL PROBE. THIS ‘PROBE’ IS INSERTED IN THE ANUS OF THE RESTRAINED MALE ANIMAL WHERE IT SENDS IN AN ELECTRICAL CURRENT, FORCING THE BULL TO EJACULATE. 

ONCE THE SEMEN IS COLLECTED IT IS DISTRIBUTED TO DAIRY FARMS WHERE IT IS USED TO IMPREGNATE THE FEMALE ANIMALS.

BREEDING - MALES

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WITH COWS BEING MAMMALS, LIKE HUMANS THEY HAVE TO HAVE GIVEN BIRTH IN ORDER TO PRODUCE MILK. 


THE METHOD FOR FEMALES, WHICH GENERALLY DOES NOT LEGALLY REQUIRE A LICENSED VETERINARIAN, INVOLVES RESTRAINING THE COW IN A CATTLE CRUSH AND FORCING AN ARM INTO THE ANUS OF THE COW, TO HOLD THE CERVIX IN PLACE THROUGH THE LINING OF THE RECTUM AND THEN INVOLVES GUIDING A LONG ROD CALLED AN INSEMINATION GUN THROUGH THE VULVA, IN ORDER TO DEPOSIT THE SEMEN INTO THE UTERUS. 


THIS IS VERY COMMON PRACTICE IN MOST DAIRIES WITH 89% OF DAIRY OPERATIONS IN THE US USING THIS METHOD. 


THIS PROCEDURE STARTS WHEN A COW IS AT BREEDING AGE WHICH BEGINS AT AROUND 18 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS OLD. 


THESE BREEDING PRACTICES ARE CONSISTENT IN ALMOST ALL WORLD WIDE DAIRY FARMS.

BREEDING - FEMALES

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PREGNANCY, MILKING & CALVING

COWS, LIKE HUMANS, HAVE A 9 MONTH PREGNANCY. 


DAIRY COWS ARE IMPREGNATED ANNUALLY TO ENSURE MILK PRODUCTION REMAINS CONSISTENT, UNTIL THEY ARE WORN OUT AND PRODUCTIVITY DROPS.


IN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY COWS GENERALLY HAVE 3.6 LACTATION CYCLES, WITH THE AVERAGE AGE AT FIRST CALVING BEING 33 MONTHS IN THE UK, WITH A 400 DAY INTERVAL BETWEEN SUBSEQUENT CALVINGS.


DAIRY COWS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED TO PRODUCE UP TO 10 TIMES MORE MILK THAN THEY NATURALLY WOULD. 


COWS ARE MILKED AT LEAST TWICE A DAY AND ARE HOOKED UP TO PAINFUL MILKING MACHINES WHICH SUCK MILK FROM THE UDDER ALONG WITH ANY FECES OR PUS PRESENT. 


30% OF UK DAIRY COWS HAVE MASTITIS, A BACTERIAL INFECTION OF THE UDDER. 


IN THE US THE FDA ALLOWS 750 MILLION SOMATIC PUS CELLS IN EVERY LITRE OF MILK. 


IN EUROPE, REGULATORS ALLOW 400 MILLION SOMATIC PUS CELLS PER LITRE. 

 

IMPORTANT FACT CORRECTION: 
"IN AUSTRALIA THERE IS NO LIMIT ON HOW MANY SOMATIC PUS CELLS ARE ALLOWABLE IN MILK."

THERE IS A LEGAL LIMIT OF PUS IN MILK IN AUSTRALIA AND IT'S ACTUALLY 400 MILLION CELLS PER LITRE - NOT MUCH BETTER! 

DAIRY CALVES WORLDWIDE ARE ALMOST ALWAYS SEPARATED FROM THEIR MOTHERS SHORTLY AFTER BIRTH.


THIS IS DONE SO THAT CALVES CANNOT DRINK THE MILK MEANT FOR SALE, IN ORDER TO MAXIMISE DAIRY INDUSTRY PROFITS. 


DAIRY COWS CAN RECOGNISE THEIR CALVES’ CALL (AND VICE VERSA) FROM JUST A DAY AFTER BIRTH.


RESEARCH SHOWS LONGER COW–CALF CONTACT TYPICALLY HAS POSITIVE LONGER-TERM EFFECTS ON CALVES, PROMOTING MORE NORMAL SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, REDUCING ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR, AND SOMETIMES REDUCING RESPONSES TO STRESSORS. 


THE SEPARATION OF MOTHERS FROM CALVES CAUSES AN EMOTIONAL PAIN SIMILAR TO A PHYSICAL ONE AND COWS AND THEIR CALVES HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO CRY OUT FOR EACH OTHER FOR DAYS AFTER THE TRAUMATIC SEPARATION. 

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CALF OUTCOMES

FEMALE CALVES ARE REARED IN INDIVIDUAL PENS USUALLY UNTIL 6-8 WEEKS, HOWEVER IT HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED ON UK FARMS THAT SOME CALVES HAVE BEEN KEPT IN CONFINEMENT FOR AS LONG AS 6 MONTHS, DEPRIVING THEM OF MUCH NEEDED SOCIAL CONTACT. 


MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY IS COMMON IN CALVES. 


FOR EXAMPLE MORE THAN HALF OF CALVES ON UK FARMS SUFFER FROM DISEASE BEFORE WEANING AND NEARLY ALL OF THESE DISEASES ARE SCOURS AND RESPIRATORY DISEASE. 


FEMALE CALVES WILL GO ON TO REPLACE THE DAIRY HERD AND FACE THE SAME FATE AS THEIR MOTHERS BEFORE THEM. 

DAIRY BRED MALE CALVES CAN BE RAISED FOR THEIR FLESH, BUT ARE GENERALLY CONSIDERED SUB-OPTIMAL COMPARED TO THOSE BRED SPECIFICALLY FOR MEAT. 


IN THE UK 78% MALE CALVES BORN IN DAIRY HERDS ARE REARED FOR THEIR FLESH, WHICH STILL CURRENTLY LEAVES AROUND 60,000 SLAUGHTERED WITHIN 48 HOURS OF BIRTH, USUALLY BY GUNSHOT TO THE HEAD ON THE FARM. 


ACCORDING TO THE GUARDIAN, IN THE UK THIS PRACTICE COULD BE BANNED BY THE END OF 2021, WITH SEXED SEMEN BEING FAVOURED TO ENSURE LESS UNWANTED MALE CALVES ARE BORN. 


MALE CALVES WHO ARE NOT SHOT ON FARMS WILL BE RAISED FOR VEAL EITHER IN THE UK OR IN EUROPE, MEANING THAT THE CALVES HAVE TO ENDURE DISTRESSING LIVE EXPORTS FOR LONG DISTANCES TO BE SLAUGHTERED OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY OR ALTERNATIVELY WILL BE KILLED IN UK SLAUGHTERHOUSES.

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IN AUSTRALIA, MALE CALVES IN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY ARE EITHER REARED FOR THEIR FLESH, OR SENT TO A SLAUGHTERHOUSE AT A YOUNG AGE TO BE USED FOR VEAL OR OTHER PROCESSED MEAT PRODUCTS, OR ARE ALSO KILLED AT BIRTH.

 
CALVES IN AUSTRALIA CAN ONLY BE TRANSPORTED FOR SLAUGHTER IF THEY ARE OVER 5 DAYS OLD, FIT AND HEALTHY, AND THE ABATTOIR IS WITHIN 12 HOURS. 
THE ALTERNATIVE IS KILLING THEM ON THE FARM. 


THE RECOMMENDED METHODS OF KILLING ARE A GUNSHOT OR CAPTIVE BOLT TO THE HEAD. IN THE AUSTRALIAN DAIRY GUIDELINES BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA IS ACCEPTED AS A ‘HUMANE’ METHOD OF KILLING FOR CALVES WHO ARE LESS THAN 24 HOURS OLD.

IN THE USA THERE ARE AROUND 450’000 VEAL CALVES, THE MAJORITY OF WHOM COME FROM THE DAIRY INDUSTRY. 


SHOCKINGLY 15% OF US VEAL CALVES ARE KILLED AT UNDER 3 WEEKS OF AGE, BUT MOST ARE FED A MILK-REPLACER AND KILLED AT A DISTURBING 3 MONTHS OLD. 


AROUND 10% OF THE US BEEF HERD ARE FORMER MALE DAIRY CALVES, USUALLY KILLED UNDER 14 MONTHS OF AGE.

IN CANADA, TYPICALLY YOUNG MALE CALVES ARE SENT TO AN AUCTION HOUSE TO BE SOLD TO ANOTHER FARM KNOWN AS A FEEDLOT OR GROWER. 
THEY'LL SPEND ABOUT EIGHT MONTHS AT THE FEEDLOT BEFORE BEING SENT TO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE.


AROUND 223 THOUSAND VEAL CALVES WERE SLAUGHTERED IN CANADIAN FEDERALLY INSPECTED ESTABLISHMENTS IN 2012, ALMOST ALL OF THEM BORN TO DAIRY COWS. HOWEVER, NEW ANIMAL WELFARE RULES WHICH PREVENT CALVES BEING TRANSPORTED FOR MORE THAN 12 HOURS WITHOUT FOOD, WATER AND REST, MEAN THAT MANY DAIRY FARMERS BELIEVE IT WILL NOW BE MORE ECONOMICAL TO JUST KILL MALE CALVES AT BIRTH.

IN THE EU, THERE ARE AROUND 6 MILLION VEAL CALVES AND THERE IS A VARIATION IN MALE CALF OUTCOMES ACROSS THE COUNTRIES. BUT ONE THING IS FOR SURE, THEY WILL ALL BE EXECUTED SOONER OR LATER.

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MUTILATIONS

IN THE UK CALVES UNDER 2 MONTHS OLD CAN BE CASTRATED WITHOUT ANAESTHETIC. 


THE THREE MAIN METHODS OF CASTRATION INCLUDE: 

BLOODLESS CASTRATION, USING A DEVICE SUCH AS A RITCHEY NIPPER OR BURDIZZO. THESE ARE USED TO CRUSH THE TUBE LEADING FROM THE TESTICLES TO THE PENIS AND THE SURROUNDING VESSELS, WHICH LEADS TO LOSS OF BLOOD SUPPLY TO THE TESTES. 

ANOTHER METHOD IS SURGICAL CASTRATION,  WHERE THE SCROTUM IS CUT OPEN TO REVEAL THE TESTES, WHICH ARE THEN SLICED OFF OR TORN OUT. 

DISBUDDING OR DEHORNING IS THE REMOVAL OF THE HORNS OF DAIRY CATTLE, VIA HEAT CAUTERISATION, CHEMICAL CAUTERISATION OR REMOVAL OF HORNS WITH VARIOUS CUTTING TOOLS. IT IS CLAIMED BY THE INDUSTRY TO REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY TO OTHER CATTLE AND WORKERS, AND DURING TRANSPORTATION TO SLAUGHTER FACILITIES, IS CLAIMED TO REDUCE THE BRUISING OF CARCASSES MEANT FOR SALE. 

ALL METHODS OF DISBUDDING AND DEHORNING ARE USED IN MOST COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE AND CAUSE SERIOUS PAIN AND DISTRESS, EVEN WHEN PAIN RELIEF IS USED.

IN THE UK ALTHOUGH IT IS REQUIRED TO USE PAIN RELIEF FOR CERTAIN METHODS OF HORN REMOVAL, CALVES CAN BE DISBUDDED VIA CHEMICAL CAUTERISATION WITHOUT ANY ANAESTHETIC AT ALL IN THEIR FIRST WEEK OF LIFE.

 

CHEMICAL CAUTERISATION INVOLVES THE APPLICATION OF A CAUSTIC PASTE TO PREVENT THE GROWTH OF HORNS. THE USE OF CHEMICAL CAUTERY POSES A REAL RISK OF SERIOUS TISSUE DAMAGE. IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT CALVES HAVE BEEN BLINDED BY CAUTERY PASTE, WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN ALLOWED OUT IN THE RAIN SOON AFTER ITS APPLICATION.

IN AUSTRALIA ACCORDING TO DAIRY AUSTRALIA WELFARE STANDARDS & GUIDELINES, CALVES LESS THAN 6 MONTHS OLD CAN BE DE HORNED WITHOUT PAIN RELIEF.


GUIDELINES IN THE USA SUGGEST DISBUDDING OR DEHORNING SHOULD BE PERFORMED BY 8 WEEKS OF AGE. DEHORNING IS CONSIDERED A MORE PAINFUL PROCEDURE WITH A LONGER HEALING TIME. CALVES ARE USUALLY RESTRAINED FOR THIS PROCEDURE.

IN THE EU DESTRUCTION OF THE HORN PRODUCING AREA OF CALVES FOUR WEEKS OF AGE IS PERMITTED BY CHEMICAL OR HEAT CAUTERISATION. NO ANAESTHETIC IS REQUIRED.

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AND FINALLY THE RUBBER RING METHOD,  THIS CUTS OFF THE BLOOD SUPPLY TO THE TESTES AND SCROTUM, WHICH CAUSE THEM TO DRY UP AND DROP OFF.

 

THE INDUSTRY CAN USE A RUBBER RING OR OTHER DEVICES WHICH RESTRICT BLOOD FLOW TO THE SCROTUM, WITHOUT ANAESTHETIC WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF LIFE. 

IN AUSTRALIA ACCORDING TO THE DAIRY WELFARE STANDARDS & GUIDELINES CALVES LESS THAN 6 MONTHS OLD CAN BE CASTRATED WITHOUT PAIN RELIEF.

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HOUSING

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IN ALMOST ALL CATTLE FARMS IN THE UK COWS ARE KEPT IN HOUSING FOR AT LEAST SOME OF THE YEAR OR ARE RAISED IN INTENSIVE FARMS. AROUND 10% OF DAIRY COWS DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO PASTURE AND MANY ARE DENIED ACCESS TO THE OUTDOORS FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.

IN THE USA STANDARD ROOM AT FEEDING TROUGHS IS 24 INCHES PER COW, WHILE COWS NATURALLY PREFER TO SPACE THEMSELVES 12FT APART.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STALL DIMENSIONS FOR A 1200-1500LB LACTATING COW ARE 45-48 INCHES WIDE AND 8-8.5 FEET LONG, DESIGNED TO PREVENT THEM TURNING AROUND. IN THE US 40% OF LACTATING COWS HAVE NO ACCESS TO PASTURE.

PERSISTENT LAMENESS IS AN ISSUE DUE TO POOR QUALITY FLOORING AND TRACKS, AND POORLY DESIGNED CUBICLES.

 

OVER 50% OF DAIRY COWS SUFFER FROM CRIPPLING LAMENESS AND SOME COWS ARE FORCED TO WEAR CHAINS CALLED HOBBLES FOR MONTHS AT A TIME TO LIMIT MOVEMENT.

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TRANSPORT

IN THE US THE TRANSPORT OF CATTLE TO SLAUGHTER IS LARGELY UNREGULATED AND STRESSFUL. STRICTER RULES ON TRANSPORT APPLY IN OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE THE EU AND CANADA BUT ARE STILL POOR. FOR EXAMPLE, THE EU ONLY REQUIRES THAT COWS ARE FED AND WATERED ONCE IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD. IN CANADA COWS ARE TRANSPORTED EXTREMELY LONG DISTANCES TO SLAUGHTER MOST AT AROUND 280KM.

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SLAUGHTER

DAIRY COWS WHO ARE NO LONGER PROFITABLE ARE SENT TO SLAUGHTER BECAUSE OF LOWER MILK YIELD DUE TO AGE, INFERTILITY OR MASTITIS.

THE SALE OF THEIR FLESH HELPS SUBSIDISE DAIRY FARMS. 

MANY OF THESE COWS ARE TOO EMACIATED, INADEQUATELY MUSCLED OR HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS, SO MOST OF THEIR FLESH GOES TO PROCESSED BEEF PRODUCTS LIKE BURGERS.

DAIRY COWS ARE GENERALLY SENT TO BE SLAUGHTERED AFTER AROUND 4 - 6 YEARS, BUT THEIR NATURAL LIFESPAN IS AROUND 25 YEARS. 

IN THE UK 25% DAIRY COWS ARE KILLED ANNUALLY AND AROUND 50% OF UK BEEF COMES FROM THE EXHAUSTED BODIES OF SPENT DAIRY COWS. 

ANOTHER SHOCKING FACT IS THAT AROUND 150,000 DAIRY COWS ARE SLAUGHTERED WHILST STILL PREGNANT IN THE UK EACH YEAR. 

THE MOST COMMON METHOD FOR SLAUGHTER IS VIA CAPTIVE BOLT GUN WHICH SHOOTS A ROD INTO THE SKULL AND DESTROYS THE BRAIN. THEN THE THROAT IS SLASHED OPEN TO BLEED THEM OUT.

IT IS ESTIMATED THAT BETWEEN 5 - 10% OF CATTLE ARE NOT STUNNED EFFECTIVELY AND WILL HAVE TO ENDURE THE TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE OF EITHER BEING SHOT REPEATEDLY IN THE HEAD, BEING HUNG UP BY THE LEG, WHICH OFTEN DISLOCATES THE HIP BONE UNDER THE ANIMAL'S IMMENSE WEIGHT AND THEN HAVING THEIR THROAT CUT AND BLOOD DRAINED WHILST FULLY CONSCIOUS. 

IN THE USA AROUND 1/3 OF DAIRY COWS ARE REMOVED FROM DAIRY HERDS EACH YEAR, THE MAJORITY OF WHOM ARE CULLED.

 

IN CANADA 250’000 DAIRY COWS ARE MURDERED ANNUALLY.

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HEALTH

PLANT SOURCES OF PROTEIN ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BETTER HEALTH OUTCOMES OVERALL COMPARED TO DAIRY SOURCES OF PROTEIN.

 

IN FACT THIS PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY WHICH INCLUDED OVER 130 THOUSAND PARTICIPANTS FROM THE NURSES’ HEALTH STUDY, PUBLISHED IN THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION FOUND THAT:


HIGH ANIMAL PROTEIN INTAKE (INCLUDING FROM DAIRY SPECIFICALLY) WAS POSITIVELY ASSOCIATED WITH CARDIOVASCULAR MORTALITY YET HIGH PLANT PROTEIN INTAKE WAS INVERSELY ASSOCIATED WITH ALL-CAUSE AND CARDIOVASCULAR MORTALITY. SO IN THIS STUDY THE SUBSTITUTION OF PLANT PROTEIN FOR ANIMAL PROTEIN INCLUDING DAIRY, WAS ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER MORTALITY

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ENVIRONMENT

A HUGE STUDY CONDUCTED AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY WHICH LOOKED AT ALMOST 40 THOUSAND FARMS IN 119 COUNTRIES SHOWED THAT MEAT AND DAIRY USES A STAGGERING 83% OF FARMLAND AND PRODUCES 60% OF AGRICULTURE'S GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, YET PROVIDES JUST 18% OF CALORIES AND 37% OF PROTEIN.

 

THE RESEARCH SHOWED THAT WITHOUT MEAT AND DAIRY CONSUMPTION, GLOBAL FARMLAND USE COULD BE REDUCED BY MORE THAN 75% AND STILL FEED THE WORLD.

 

JOSEPH POORE WHO LED THE RESEARCH CONCLUDED FROM THE STUDY THAT “A VEGAN DIET IS PROBABLY THE SINGLE BIGGEST WAY TO REDUCE YOUR IMPACT ON PLANET EARTH, NOT JUST GREENHOUSE GASES, BUT GLOBAL ACIDIFICATION, EUTROPHICATION, LAND USE AND WATER USE.”